I went to have a routine blood test done to look at my glucose levels. It's a standard pregnancy thing that I've had to do before, except rendered annoying because of THIS and also because in Italy you have to do the long version: three blood tests over three hours, after drinking a bottle of nastiness. All on an empty stomach.
But at least I had my laptop and could get some work done on impending deadlines while Husband had the kids.
Or so I thought.
But then I ran into one of those seemingly competent and authoritative figures that were the subject of an earlier post: the Italian Bad Bureaucrat.
This particular one was a receptionist in a center for blood tests. She checked me in and told me:
R: "You can't eat, drink, or read."
R: "That's right. Absolutely no reading."
Self: "What? I have to sit here for three hours, why this uncommon form of torture?"
R (rolling her eyes like 'you moron'): "Ma'am, you are here for a glucose test. Glucose means sugar. This is a test for sugars in your blood. If you read the mental activity will metabolise the sugars and it will cause the test results to be inaccurate."
This left me in a quandary, because the waiting room had about seven seats in it all guarded by this one lady who had just told me no reading...
In an improbable but very Italian twist ending, there was another woman there for a glucose test, and she happened to be a scientific researcher in the field of blood (doing research on DNA). "Can you believe that about the 'reading metabolises the sugars' thing?" I told her. "They just made it up!" I expected someone who was an expert in the field to be even more indignant than I was, and maybe even to go set the record straight. But instead, like all Italians when it comes to the flagrant abuses of the State, this one laughed and said, "Yeah, they totally made it up."
Then she sat back and didn't read for three hours.